A fragile ecosystem is threatened

By Chamber Staff

West Hollywood, like every other city, has its own ecosystem and like every other ecosystem, its very health is a delicate dance between the various components. Our strength as a city is determined by all parts of the ecosystem being in balance, working together – mutually and commensally symbiotic, cooperative, and our success as a city honors our interconnectedness and interdependence. What does this mean and why is it even important? In the simplest of understandings, every aspect of our city’s great ecosystem is necessary for the good of all – to remove or hinder even one part of the ecosystem threatens the health of the ecosystem and all the organisms it supports. 

Like it or not, business is a significant part of that ecosystem, as are its residents and municipal government leaders. That is reality. A city’s budget is dependent on taxes and fees collected by businesses and residents. Although business has long been demonized, business owners have been called greedy, and associated with bottom feeders, this is far from the truth. What is true is that a city will not survive without the income they receive from businesses and for businesses to survive, they need employees, customers, and city leadership that set fair, reasonable ordinances that work for every part of the ecosystem. Our unique boutique, independent small businesses, through their fees, taxes,productsandservices they provide, and their most important resource – the workers they employ – is greatly responsible for the health of West Hollywood.

Small, boutique businesses breathe life and charm in our little town, they give our city personality, which is one of the things that makes a visitor fall in love with West Hollywood and want to come back. But more and more these small businesses are being pushed out of the area because they can’t afford to stay. Can you imagine what West Hollywood will look like when they are all gone?

West Hollywood business owners want their employees to be paid well, to have a living wage. They want their employees to be safe and enjoy working for them. Good business owners know fully, the valuable assets that are their employees and how the costs of massive turnover can be devastating to their bottom line. It’s also true these very same business owners care deeply for the environment and want to do their part to combat climate change. Another truth is that making adjustments that impact your budget takes time – time our businesses are not being given.

The pace and nearsightedness of these new ordinances are dangerous for West Hollywood’s ecosystem.Raises prices the only affluent can afford. Rents and payroll only corporations can pay.And the sad part is that the very people our leaders claim to be doing this for will suffer. It looks good on the surface, sure. It is admirable, of course. But the long-term impacts will be bad for workers and will be bad for residents. If our leadership took the time to properly analyze the situation, rather than rushing this through, they would come to the same conclusion.It really comes down to simple math.

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Just an old fart
Just an old fart
1 month ago

ps – if you have a personal beef with them, that’s different. sounds personal.

Randy
Randy
1 month ago

I’m not here to take a side on this issue. I’m seriously not. But Larry, don’t you think the fact that you are a small business owner, that puts a little bias into this platform? First of all, this was written by somebody, and we don’t even get to know who. Second, there has been an overwhelming number of articles that are pro business, anti-labor, such as the number of articles posted that were against the hotel ordinance. Now we are seeing it with the minimum wage debate. Once again, I’m not trying to take sides, I’m trying to give… Read more »

Weho Resident
Weho Resident
1 month ago
Reply to  Randy

Randy you are especially naive. If you think there are $4 hour gravy in these businesses then shows you are not a business owner. You don’t have a payroll, and you are probably in a rent controlled apartment subsidized by somebody else. If you think a small business can survive with additional costs per hour without raising prices then you are not that smart either. Its just reality that it will effect seniors and those on fixed incomes the most. Goodbye to most small retailers, hello to longer lines and higher prices in every West Hollywood shop, more automation, less… Read more »

Randy
Randy
1 month ago
Reply to  Weho Resident

Which part of “I’m not taking a sides on this issue, because I’m really not sure how this will land,” did you not get? I only said “I’m not taking sides on this this issue,” three times.

I was pointing out the clear bias in this publication, the lack of transparency about who writes articles, and whether they should be considered “Let’s Discuss” (opinion pieces, or not). And the bias towards businesses, and the Chamber of Commerce.

For the record, I’m not in a rent-controlled apartment.

Please re-read my comment. Thank you.

Last edited 1 month ago by Randy
Steve Martin
Steve Martin
1 month ago
Reply to  Randy

Thanks Randy; I agree the new format does not make it clear what is Editorial, which should be under “Let’s Discuss”; unfortunately the current format mixes up news with random notices and it is maddening to see serious articles being bounced due to announcing the opening of Cracker Barrel in Hollywood or a kazoo concert in Plummer Park. The upside is that anyone can contribute.

Randy
Randy
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Thanks, Steve. Agreed. Anyone can contribute. But this site has clearly presented itself as pro-business/Chamber of Commerce, anti-Scooter. I only ask that opinion pieces be classified as such, and those with opinions reveal themselves.

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
1 month ago

This is embarrassing.

Joe Bolgna
Joe Bolgna
1 month ago

I’m sorry, who wrote this and is too embarrassed to add their byline? What is the point of this article and poor writing? It kind of makes no sense.

Park on Sunset
Park on Sunset
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe Bolgna

It seems this was a collaboration of thoughts from members of and/or employees of the Chamber of Commerce. While the reading was a bit rocky, the thoughts and facts were clear.

David
David
1 month ago

This article is a mess. Five paragraphs of disjointed nonsense.

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
1 month ago

West Hollywood business owners want their employees to be paid well, to have a living wage”

Uh, I’m going to stop you right there. Strongly disagree.

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
1 month ago

Please define “living wage”. That would be a good place to start.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
1 month ago

In the West Hollywood I know folks are very loyal to their local business owners like the owners of Yogurt Stop, John Wolf at Carneys, Donny Cacy at the Curzon 7-11, Marco at Marco’s or Michael Niemeyer at Mickey’s. Many business owners are beloved members of the community. But residents are aware that our local business owners are subject to unrelenting pressures from unreasonable commercial landlords. While we understand we live in a capitalist system, that does not make us any less unhappy about the closing of 24 Hour Fitness. At the last City Council meeting regarding increasing the minimum… Read more »

Park on Sunset
Park on Sunset
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Dear Mr.Martin, many opinions you have expressed over time represent a somewhat biased and myopic point of view since you were a council member. Although you may be a fine attorney in your special area of practice, the community has witnessed many occasions where you spoke at city council meetings in a manner that chastised the council members in a sarcastic and less than helpful voice. That in an of itself may have excluded you from becoming part of the solution and holistic sensibility that Ms. Morrill pointed out. Additionally, one of the business owners you mentioned displayed a recalcitrant… Read more »

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
1 month ago
Reply to  Park on Sunset

Well Ms. Park I suppose I was myopic when I lead the efforts to take over Santa Monica Blvd. from Cal Trans and re-create it into the beautiful, pedestrian friendly boulevard it is today. I suppose I lacked vision when I was responsible for the creation of the Eastside Re-Development Agency that fostered new development and created hundreds of units of affordable housing. Should I go on? Oh, I am sorry for being sarcastic.

Park on Sunset
Park on Sunset
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

There you go again, what is your point of trotting out past accomplishments? Legitimate solutions in current time are needed, not sarcasm. Are you aware of Main Street USA whereby the Federal government fosters redevelopment of historic main streets? Presumably that would be relevant today and serve to retain some semblance of the community that served various neighborhoods helped to support their retail occupants.

Just an old fart
Just an old fart
1 month ago
Reply to  Park on Sunset

Recalcitrant? If you use big words, I think you’d be big enough to use your real name. (Me thinks your initials are J.H. — I recognize your arrogant and pretentious holier-than though cadences from comments on other articles).

You’re hypocritical — you support small business, but then attack small business.

Steve Martin is invaluable to the city. I lived here well before this city was incorporated. His insight, knowledge and drive have done wonders for this city.

Park on Sunset
Park on Sunset
1 month ago

Supportive of small businesses evidenced by several comments. One bad actor who appealed to the public to dig her out of what appeared to be a self inflicted ordeal with the landlord does not qualify as an attack on small business. Please comprehend what was said instead of making stuff up. Everyone loves trees!

Just an old fart
Just an old fart
1 month ago
Reply to  Park on Sunset

Each Sunday I walk my dog and many times I stop and chat with the owners. Maybe you should find out the truth before you judge, but you appear to be on the supreme court. Hearing their side, there is no way in high holy hell this was self-inflicted. I’ve heard Mr. Mills of Men’ts Health tried to get into Unity for 9 months — the landlords jerked him around like a turkey on a stick and then told him they didn’t want him. Ask him how he views the landlord. I’ve met Tony. I don’t think that was self-inflicted.… Read more »

Park on Sunsetle
Park on Sunsetle
1 month ago

Apparently you have all the answers. Am definitely not on the Supreme Court and have not judged. In the article produced by the owner, several folks made helpful comments, mine amongst them suggesting practical solutions. They took offense and seemingly also did not respond to the city mediator who also left a comment and who may have been helpful. Solutions may come from many directions but it is good if one is receptive. As for landlords, unfortunately they hold the power and if one makes unpleasant demands you are sunk. Incidentally, there was another location fully kitted out for their… Read more »

Just an old fart
Just an old fart
1 month ago

You thought I was serious when is said you were on the Supreme Court??? If you’re for small business why call out a business? If you have a beef with them that’s different but to call them out is low-grade. I take umbrage that you are quick to try to write off a business that is well-loved not just by an old guy like me but many in the community. And you’re quick to relocate them. That is narcissistic as you’re only thinking of you. People rely on them. I owned a pizza joint in the 80s in la county.… Read more »

Harvey Chocolate
Harvey Chocolate
1 month ago

I think “Old Fart” is really the owner of Yogurt Stop looking for conflict

Just an old fart
Just an old fart
1 month ago

Nope.

Park on Sunset
Park on Sunset
1 month ago

Every business community I have participated in has had a high standard of ethical behavior and one’s standing and reputation were directly related.

Due to the tenor of the business owner, I declined to recommend another location while choosing not to be involved. I offered some valuable, sage advice that my attorney gave to me and nothing more. Folks open to solutions are generally better off. Good luck in all your endeavors.

Just an old fart
Just an old fart
1 month ago
Reply to  Park on Sunset

Please explain and define the high ethics al behavior. Ha! You are not in reality. I know. I had a business downtown. Please share with me which business communities you have been in. And, you are sure defensive and Testy, Ms. Park! Testy! What does it matter to you?This is too personal for you. I talk to these ladies every Sunday. They are an open book. They say you are only sick as your secrets. My AA friends and I love this place. We rely on it. We love it After meetings. You arrogant people. Come to a meeting. I… Read more »

supportsmallbiz
supportsmallbiz
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

No one is exploiting workers, Steve. Do your homework about what our businesses are paying and especially gratuity workers who are making $45 to $50 per hour, some nights earning more than the owner or manager. The back of house are already at $18 and $20 so this increase is really only helping those already doing very well. Our businesses are in total support of increasing where they can. Your lack of empathy and compassion for our businesses, some who were shut down for almost a year and trying to recover, is frankly disgusting. Seems to me you are on… Read more »

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
1 month ago

We have seen a lot happen in five years. I suppose I was naive to think that commercial landlords would be more accommodating to small business tenants. Instead they have remained predatory. So keeping a lid on the minimum wage wasn’t helping business owners or their employees. But if WeHo businesses are in fact paying $45 an hour and $18 to bus boys and dishwashers, as you contend, then why is the current minimum wage increase a big deal to the Chamber?

Jay Spangler
Jay Spangler
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

The $45+ per hour workers ‘are’ the minimum wage workers. They work for tips making their income far greater than any other employee in the business. Businesses do not have to pay these tips making it possible to hire many servers to accommodate the community with the most amazing customer service in the area. Increasing their hourly rate to $18, plus taxes and mandatory 96 hours vacation pay will ruin small businesses who simply cannot afford these gigantic and abrupt increases. This needs to be spread out over years, not dropped like a bomb in 6 months.

TomSmart
TomSmart
1 month ago
Reply to  Jay Spangler

How much do you pay your staff at Pura Vita, Jay? And yourself?

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
1 month ago
Reply to  Jay Spangler

So that is two week vacation (80 hours), plus 16 hours, (2 days) of sick pay. Often employees on the low end of the wage scale have greater challenges in dealing with family emergencies, such as a sick child, or dealing with medical appointmens and school events. So they may not get a “vacation” but it gives them a buffer. I am not saying that this won’t be a challenge for anyone trying to schedule a large staff but it is a balance. Perhaps a longer period to ease this benefit in would be a reasonable compromise.

Randy
Randy
1 month ago
Reply to  Jay Spangler

What about workers in retail? Or who work at subway? Or the chop shop? Or Starbucks? Do they make $45 an hour?

Last edited 1 month ago by Randy
Randy
Randy
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Well put, Mr. Martin.

Julian
Julian
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Mr. Martin, First, thank you for your years of service and for the positive impact you’ve made in West Hollywood. The streetscape improvements on Santa Monica Blvd were instrumental in fostering a sense of a cohesive, village-like district and community. I imagine it required a lot of patience to handle the enormous amount of meetings, outreach, research and input that was needed to take a direction on that project. If you still have that open, cooperative mindset I’d love to meet and discuss your statements “If West Hollywood’s economic ecosystem is in danger it is from high commercial rents” and… Read more »

Joshua88
Joshua88
1 month ago

Isn’t this the woman who runs the Chamber of Commerce? Why isn’t this mentioned?
Let’s be clear about one thing: The Chamber promotes and exists for the benefit of the corporations.

TomSmart
TomSmart
1 month ago
Reply to  Joshua88

EXACTLY!! She’s the Union Boss for businesses She will do anything, and say anything to get her way. Sounds like she graduated from Trump University.

Jay Spangler
Jay Spangler
1 month ago
Reply to  TomSmart

You obviously don’t know Gen! 😂😂😂
She works harder for the community than anyone. We are lucky to have her.

TomSmart
TomSmart
1 month ago
Reply to  Jay Spangler

I didn’t say she doesn’t work hard. But she does only for one sector.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
1 month ago
Reply to  TomSmart

When I posted my initial comment this article was credited to Morrill whose photo was prominently posted. What is up with that?

Park on Sunset
Park on Sunset
1 month ago
Reply to  TomSmart

Dear Mr. Smart, the organization is called The Chamber of Commerce which is her rightful focus in alignment with the facts and reality on the ground. Ms. Morrill is cognizant of vital interaction with conditions within the entire community.

Randy
Randy
1 month ago
Reply to  Park on Sunset

These are not proven facts, but opinions. We do not know how this will land. The Chamber of Commerce is a business lobby. Of course they are going to lean on the side of businesses. We shall see if the sky will fall for local businesses. Each one has their own economics. Some can easily afford the extra $3.74 an hour that the Council discussed. Some cannot.

supportsmallbiz
supportsmallbiz
1 month ago
Reply to  Joshua88

Good Lord. do you even know what the West Hollywood Chamber does, or are you just lumping them in with Chambers across the country?

Park on Sunset
Park on Sunset
1 month ago

Thank you Genevieve, this is a repost of a comment made regarding the 8850 Sunset project and it directly relates to the ecosystem you describe. Eliminating local businesses is a sure way to decimate neighborhoods. That doesn’t happen in Manhattan where older neighborhoods are refurbished to become the local hip and happening integrated with redevelopment. Local retailers and Mom & Pop stores put 52% into the local economy yet national chains only account for 14%. That is why neighborhoods are referred to as “neighbor-hoods”. hoods of neighbors to which tourists are always welcome. This is something one would think the… Read more »

Scott Sigman
Scott Sigman
1 month ago
Reply to  Park on Sunset

Manhattan does do away with older buildings and replace Especially for rat infested old broken falling down buildings Improvement Stars old bye bye to Russian restaurant ugly architecture lets friends overdose at the French market thanks for saving that reminder central/viper room another sore spot in history—god this place is full on old structures Thank good we have Tail of the pup—gross name and hot dogs well kosher guy here damn sunset got rid of a large block of crap. The city needs structures, water-pies, sewers, and dangerous trees updated tired of tripping on sidewalks Pain lets clean up all… Read more »

Unintelligible
Unintelligible
1 month ago
Reply to  Scott Sigman

🙄🙄🙄🙄

carleton cronin
1 month ago

This could be the beginning of a valuable discourse – if the City Council is interested.

JF1
JF1
1 month ago

Thank you, Genevieve Morrill! You should run for city council. Shyne, Erickson out. Genevieve in! Until then, I hope the city can survive Shyne and Erickson’s terms. What a total disaster they have been.

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